14 African Scientists win $1 million each from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
By Cyril D. Boateng
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has committed an initial $50 million towards a new 10-year program. The program awards leadership fellowships to 14 African scientists. The scientists are from Ghana, South Africa, Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mali, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe. The announcement was made by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the 17th Grand Challenges Annual Meeting in Seattle early this month. The Grand Challenges Global Call to Action is an initiative that intends to prioritise grants to scientists from developing countries and also supports a balanced representation of women principal investigators. It is a global forum for researchers worldwide to share their work, learn about cutting-edge advances in the field, and collaborate with other investigators and organisations.
This year the program will focus on data science projects such as mathematical modelling to inform national malaria control programs, digital health services for pregnant women, and innovations to close gaps identified by current programs for eliminating neglected tropical diseases.
Speaking at the Meeting, Mark Suzman, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation CEO, said, “We need the ideas and leadership of the people who are closest to the global health challenges we’re working to address”.
Part of the funding will provide $7 million over two years to research teams in eight countries to expand their existing immunological capacity. The foundation also announced support for scientists developing the innovations needed to end the pandemic and address urgent global health priorities through the first cohort of the Calestous Juma Science Leadership Fellowship program. The award is named after Calestous Juma, one of the world’s foremost visionaries in African led science. The first cohort comprises eight women and six men, with each receiving an award of $1 million over five years. Projects they are working on range from computational drug discovery to molecular epidemiology.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Cyril is a lecturer, research scientist and science communicator. He holds a PhD in Solid Earth Physics and is the founder and Managing Editor of AfroScience Network. Cyril is passionate about STEM education, training scientists and communicating science to the general public.
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